I deserve the same rights as everyone else. That means I have the responsibility to work towards human rights. For everyone. For me.
Everyone deserves these things.
But I don’t think that’s what my therapist was getting at. She wasn’t asking what everyone deserves — she was asking what I deserve. I, as an individual. Not as one in six billion; as me. Ginger and Lime.* And that’s still the hard part of the question. Who gets to decide? How do I know what I deserve? Is she asking me to guess?
It’s such a murky territory. Do I deserve to live in a house instead of in a shelter? Yes, I think I do, but so do the people who actually live in shelters.
Do I deserve to eat healthy food? Yes, I think I do, but so do the people who live in food deserts.**
Do I deserve to have a job? Yes, I think I do, but so do the 9.4 percent of Americans currently looking for work.
Every day I thank my lucky stars. Or whatever deity may be out there. Or maybe just my lucky accident of birth. And now I get to the heart of the matter, the hard questions that I’ve been circling around all this time.
Do I deserve to make music, even hemidemisemiprofessionally as I do? Lots of people are out there practicing more, playing better, networking and fundraising better, and I count myself extremely fortunate to have had the opportunities I’ve been given.
Do I deserve to be loved? I am monumentally lucky to have found my amazing husband, who loves me despite apparently neverending depression and the failure to adequately financially support his graduate school, not to mention my frequent lack of interest in anything but lying down. I am also lucky not to have alienated my entire family, although I am developing an unfortunate habit of taking their kind gestures in the worst possible way.
Do I deserve to be a parent?*** This is the big one, of course.
How can I ever know the answer?
*Someday I will tell you all my name. It will be anticlimactic.
**Technically I do live in a food desert, but thankfully I have a car. Do I deserve it?
***Apparently not, at least according to my Midwestern state (my employer, which excludes fertility treatments from insurance coverage — yes, I’m one of those dreaded government workers!) or the People’s Republic of China (I fail to meet at least two of the requirements to adopt from China).